Sports, Cricket

Root, Bairstow flatten India to level series with record chase


Published : 05 Jul 2022 07:56 PM

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow hit centuries to make short work of what was their highest successful run chase in Tests to level the five-match series 2-2 against India. After having dominated the final session's play on Day 4, the duo carried on nonchalantly in the morning session of Day 5 when India's bowlers just couldn't find a way through the two.

India had a reason for some optimism when they walked out on Day 5, as the overheads were grey and even the floodlights turned on. They perhaps had to squeeze in as much of the early conditions as they could before the day's forecast for clear skies - like it was on Day 4 - took shape. As it turned out, England put the first big step forward instead, as Root and Bairstow peeled off five boundaries in as many overs in the first half an hour to put the result beyond any doubt, if there still were any.

Like they expertly did on Day 4, Root and Bairstow pinched singles easily, not allowing Bumrah and Co. to build any sort of pressure, while boundaries continued to come at their whim. Root soon got to his 28th Test hundred, taking his tally to four centuries in the series. Bairstow, the other England batter in the middle of an incredible purple patch, scored a century too - taking his last five outings to: 136(92), 162(157), 71*(44), 106(140) and 114* (145).

The innings got to a phase where Root unfurled a reverse scoop over third man off Shardul Thakur, putting to rest any anticipation of a deteriorating fifth-day pitch. The pair hit 19 fours in the 19.4 overs of humbling they served the India bowlers on the final day, en route to the highest-ever fourth innings partnership in Tests (269 runs) and the completion of their 378-run chase, even before the visitors could avail the new ball at the 80th-over mark.